Çatalhöyük in Lycaonia




North Shelter of 2008  

Çatalhöyük (Turkish çatal "fork" and höyük "hill") is a settlement from the Neolithic period excavated in today's Turkey. It is dated to the period between 7500 and 5700 BC and its heyday around 7000 BC. The settlement had several thousand inhabitants.

Çatalhöyük has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012.


Burial openings under the floor  

Many, but not all, houses contained burials. Newborns and infants were mostly buried in the south of the house, where there were also stoves and ovens, adults under the sleeping platforms in the north of the house.


View to the north to the entrance  

The settlement consisted of rectangular mud brick or rammed earth houses with flat roofs, which were placed close together. Different room heights and floor levels ensured ventilation and light supply for the individual buildings and created a stair-like nesting. There were no streets, alleys or passageways between the individual houses.
Access to the houses was via a ladder, which was usually located on the south wall. For the stove, which was also on this wall, the hatch served as a smoke outlet. Various floor areas were covered with reed mats. Some of the walls had raised platforms in front of them, which might have served as sleeping places. On the north side of the houses a narrower room was sometimes separated, which was used for storage. The majority of the residents' economic activities, however, took place on the roofs.
From Çatalhöyük there is so far no evidence of public buildings. Despite the narrow and dense buildings, the individual housing units prove to be autonomous economic units.


South Shelter  

The settlement was discovered in the late 1950s. Between 1961 and 1965, the British archaeologist James Mellaart of the London Institute of Archaeology uncovered the remains of more than 160 houses that now lie under the south roof. In 1965 the excavation work was stopped due to unpleasant occurrences around James Mellaart.


South Shelter  



The work was resumed in 1993 as part of an international research project. In the first phase, 1993-1995, mainly surface investigations were carried out.
In a third investigation phase between 2003 and 2012 (excavations 2003-2008), the main focus was on the construction of the settlement and the social structure of the inhabitants. In 2008, a protective structure was erected over the northern excavation.
So far, about 5% of the settlement hill has been archaeologically investigated, but the entire hill has been geomagnetically and surveyed.



Replica in the visitor centre


Mellaart defined 14 layers belonging to the PPNB (8800-7000 BC) and the ceramic Neolithic of Central Anatolia. According to radiocarbon dating, these layers existed between 7500 and 6200 BC. The deep cut dates between 7400 and 7000 BC.
The western hill was inhabited from the early ceramic Neolithic to the Copper Stone Age in the 6th millennium BC. It is unclear whether the settlement began when the eastern hill was still inhabited, the inhabitants moved or there was a settlement gap.

Replica in the visitor centre  



The settlement of the northern hill ended around 6500 BC. In Roman and Byzantine times cemeteries were built on both hills. The settlement site near the river Çarşamba was well chosen: Water was available to a sufficient extent, an important location factor in the Konya plain with low precipitation. The natural food supply around Çatalhöyük was correspondingly rich (wild game, collective fruits). The favourable conditions probably brought the local population together in Çatal Höyük and caused the enormous expansion of the settlement for this period.





"Venus of Çatalhöyük" l Mother Goddess around 5750 B.C. l Museum of Anatolian Civilizations Ankara

Photos: @chim, Monika P.    
Translation aid: www.DeepL.com/Translator    
Source: Wikipedia and others